NEW YORK -- A red wave apparently washed over Long Island on Tuesday with Republicans claiming victory in taking the county executive seat they have coveted for some time.
Right now, results are still coming in, but if Republicans pull it off, it could be a sign of things to come in 2024 and it could certainly boost the freshman Republican congressmen who swept last year.
"How excited are we? We are about to celebrate a huge win of our friend, the great leader, give it up for Ed Romaine," former congressman Lee Zeldin said.
Zeldin may have been jumping the gun a little bit, predicting that the Brookhaven town supervisor would win over democrat David Calone in the big bucks slugfest to replace Democrat Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who was term-limited.
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If Romaine prevails, it will be the second red wave to crash on Long Island shores in the past year. Last November, voters sent a crop of Republicans to Congress, where they played a major role in helping Republicans to take control of the House.
Pundits say that if Romaine wins, it will help fend off the expected Democratic challenges next November.
"You have the Republicans able to unify on what their message is ... The Nassau and Suffolk operations they have politically will be reinvigorated," political strategist O'Brien Murray said.
In New York City, all 51 City Council seats were up for grabs. The most hotly contested was District 47 in southern Brooklyn, which is home to sizable Arab and Jewish communities. Two incumbent councilmen faced off. When the music stopped, it appeared Ari Kagan, the Democrat who became a Republican, was out of a seat. The victor? Democrat Justin Brannan.
"But make no mistake, this was a tough race, and at times, the toxic tribalism that has really ravaged our politics beyond recognition felt insurmountable," Brannan said.
In the Bronx, there was an apparent upset as Democrat incumbent Marjorie Velazquez was trailing Republican Kristy Marmorato.
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In the so-called "Asian opportunity" seat, District 43, Democrat Susan Zhuang was ahead of two opponents with 58% of the vote, and in Queens' District 19, a rematch, incumbent Republican Vickie Paladino beat Tony Avella.
In Harlem, Yusef Salaam, one of the Exonerated Central Park Five, celebrated his victory. He ran unopposed after winning an intense multi-candidate primary.
"Tonight begins my opportunity to bring us from being overlooked and underserved," Salaam said.
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In a statement issued by his campaign, Salaam said in his darkest moments as a member of the now-exonerated Central Park Five, he never gave up hope. He said his victory represents hope for his Harlem community.
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